Temperatures may remain above normal into the middle of next week, the World Meteorological Organisation says, warning that such events could occur with greater frequency in the future.

The UN has warned that the number of extreme wildfires is expected to increase 30 percent within the next 28 years.
The UN has warned that the number of extreme wildfires is expected to increase 30 percent within the next 28 years. (AP)

Record July temperatures have sparked wildfires across Europe with thousands of firefighters battling destructive and deadly blazes in countries from Portugal to the UK.

There have been over a thousand heat-related deaths and thousands of people have been forced to decamp as the fires ravage forests and residential areas.

Temperatures may remain above normal into the middle of next week, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has said, warning that such events could occur with greater frequency in the future.

"The direction is clear and in the future these kind of heat waves are going to be normal and we will see even stronger extremes," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

With human-caused climate change triggering droughts, the number of extreme wildfires is expected to increase 30 percent within the next 28 years, according to a February 2022 UN report.

Portugal

(AP)

Portugal has reported more than 1,000 deaths due to the heat wave, with the health chief warning that the country must gear up to cope with the effects of climate change as temperatures continue to rise.

Temperatures across drought-stricken Portugal surpassed 40C last week and most of the country has been placed under high fire danger by the national meteorological office IPMA.

(AP)

Several villages across Portugal have been evacuated and a local mayor said more than 3,000 hectares had been burned.

Authorities are anxious to avoid a repeat of 2017, when 66 people were killed in wildfires.

Spain

(AP)

In Spain, dozens of forest fires have ravaged across different parts of the country from the sweltering south to Galicia in the far northwest.

More than 30 forest fires around Spain have forced the evacuation of thousands of people and blackened 220 square kilometres of forest and scrub.

(AP)

Teresa Ribera, Spain's minister for ecological transition, described her country as "literally under fire" as she attended talks on climate change in Berlin.

She warned of "terrifying prospects still for the days to come", after more than 10 days of temperatures over 40C, cooling only moderately at night.

More than 500 people may have died due to the heat in Spain, according to estimates by the health ministry.

France

(AP)

In France, hundreds of firefighters, supported by six water-bomber aircraft, battled two wildfires in the southwest, which prompted the evacuation of thousands of campers, Prefect of Gironde Fabienne Buccio said.

More than 2,700 hectares have burned so far in France's Gironde region, Buccio told BFM TV.

The largest of the two fires is around the town of Landiras, pictured above, where roads have been closed and 500 residents evacuated.

(AP)

The fires in southwest France have forced the evacuation of some 16,200 people.

The French government has stepped up efforts to protect people in nursing homes, the homeless and other vulnerable populations after a vicious heat wave and poor planning led to nearly 15,000 deaths in 2003, especially among the elderly.

Greece

(AP)

A wildfire fuelled by gale-force winds has raged in the mountainous region of Penteli near Athens, burning homes and prompting authorities to order the evacuation of at least nine areas and a hospital.

Thick clouds of smoke darkened the sky over Mount Penteli where the fire broke out around 1430 GMT on Tuesday, some 27km north of central Athens.

There were no reports of injuries, the fire brigade said on Wednesday.

About 485 firefighters and 120 fire engines were deployed to try to tame the blaze, which was burning on several fronts.

(AP)

More than seven helicopters and planes dumped water on the flames, though they had halted operations during the night for safety reasons.

One hospital and the National Observatory of Athens had been evacuated as a precaution. Traffic was halted on roads leading to Penteli and police helped at least 600 residents to find their way out of the fire-stricken areas.

Strong winds were forecast to persist until Wednesday afternoon.

Britain

(AP)

Wildfires broke out across the UK on Tuesday as temperatures surpassed 40C for the first time ever.

In the capital city, the London Fire Brigade (LFB) declared an official “major incident” after a number of significant blazes.

Around 100 firefighters were sent to a village in east London where plumes of black smoke were seen billowing into the sky and buildings were seen on fire.

One firefighter was quoted by local media describing the scene as "absolute hell”.

(AFP)

Another major incident was declared in Yorkshire, northern England after a number of wildfires there.

Wildfires also raged in Norfolk, east England, and 90 firefighters were sent to tackle a separate blaze in Kent in the country’s southeast.

The Health Security Agency (UKHSA) raised the heat health warning to Level 4 for England.

Britain' Meteorological Office defines a Level 4 alert as a national emergency, and is used when a heat-wave "is so severe and/or prolonged that its effects extend outside the health and social care system.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies